Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Siege of the White Mountain; Vol. 2: Fields Running Red--Part 18

The sound of fiddles reached the party on the balcony of the Grand Palace of Lasliez, as they sat enjoying the rather frugal feast laid out before them.

“No, no,” insisted Viviane. “It’s really quite easy. You Milesians really over estimate fire magic--it’s pretty simple when you get down to it. Most things want to burn, if you give them the chance.” She idly tapped the table. “Earth magic’s the tough stuff. It takes a lot to get it to move, and you have to be careful, or it will move too much.” She stroked her chin. “Well, soil’s easy, I admit. A great hiding place if you combine it with ‘Breathe as the Earthworm’…”

Allard shrugged. “I don’t care what you say--it looks impressive.” He turned to his younger brother. “Back me up on this, Guiscard.” Guiscard didn’t seem to hear, simply staring over the balcony, tapping idly on the railing. “Guiscard?”

The younger Lasliez turned. “Oh, sorry, Allard. Just listening to the Palazzos play. They are merry tonight. You wanted something?”

“A bit of support,” muttered Allard. “It really wasn’t anything important.”

Mansemat sipped his drink. “I keep hearing that term, in all sorts of odd usages, and yet I don’t know what it means.” He frowned. “Except, possibly ‘palace’, and that can’t be right…”

“Oh, it is right, after a fashion,” said Duke Rainald. “It refers to the Old Palace…” He gestured to a large, rather decrepit building that lay on the other side of the city. “Our family used to live there before the Grand Palace was made. Afterwards, my great-great-grandfather had it used as a shelter for the indigent. Five generations later, and the indigent there have become their own little community, with their own little rules.” He shrugged. “Most of them came from downriver, and the ones that didn’t soon picked up the dialect. Many of them work as street entertainers. Or similar mean professions. And by food from the grain dole.”

Mansemat nodded. “Ahh, yes, Marsilion’s Folly used to have one of those. But my father ended it. Said that if men wanted cheap food they could earn it, and impressed them to repair the Great Stone Way. And when the Guild of Cartwrights, Architects and Draftsmen complained, he had them dissolved.” He shuddered. “Some of the members literally.”

There was an uncomfortable silence. “You know,” said Allard, “with all due respect, everything you tells me makes me so glad that Lord Shaddad lost the last Battle of Montalban.”

“Oh, you’re not alone in that,” muttered Mansemat. “My father never saw a problem that couldn’t be ended with an execution. The fact that this seemed to continuously call for MORE executions was only a bonus. And so he found himself surrounded by enemies after he came limping across the Murkenmere, after that battle. And I will add, losing troops due to shoddy road construction.” A slight smile touched the Dark Lord’s face. “Evil is… often a self-defeating thing, I find. Thank goodness.”

1 comment:

  1. Too true. I liked this entry quite a bit, actually.


    “No, no,” insisted Viviane. “It’s really quite easy. You Milesians really over estimate fire magic--it’s pretty simple when you get down to it. Most things want to burn, if you give them the chance.” She idly tapped the table. Earth magic’s the tough stuff. It takes a lot to get it to move, and you have to be careful, or it will move too much.” She stroked her chin. “Well, soil’s easy, I admit. A great hiding place if you combine it with ‘Breathe as the Earthworm’…”

    However, there was a minor error. Easy one to make. You ended the quotation marks to show an action, and then with Earth you didn't restart the quotation. A simple thing to fix, really.

    ReplyDelete